The Apple Watch, as you may well know, is Apple’s biggest product launch since the iPad. It’s projected to sell between 30 and 40 million units in its first year and that may be a conservative estimate, according to some analysts. It’s a very, very big deal in the tech industry.
Like most, I haven’t seen it or tested it. But I’ve watched the videos, gazed at the photos and read close to a million words about it. And I’m not going to buy one. Not only that, but I don’t think as many people as projected will either. Sure, it’s cool. It’s fun. It’s Apple. But sorry, it just isn’t worth the money. Why? Here are four reasons.
1. The Apple Watch doesn’t replace anything. I want fewer gadgets, not more. But after shelling out between $200 and $400 for the Apple Watch I would still be stuck with all of my current Apple hardware. I will continue to need my iPhone to make phone calls, listen to music and conduct messaging on a screen big enough that it won’t cause future blindness. I will need my iPad to read, watch TV shows and movies, FaceTime with my kids and browse the Web. I will still need something to take good photos and videos and get driving directions and tweet and Instagram and Snapchat and do every other ridiculous thing I find myself doing on these devices during my ridiculous day. I can’t do many of these things on the Apple Watch. And, at least for now, I can’t do any of them better than on my iPhone or iPad.
Not only that, but I will still need my MacBook to write and do work. None of these devices go away. And by the way they all have clocks on them.
2. The Apple Watch adds more complexity to my life, not less. Do you find yourself in front of the TV checking your text messages on your iPhone while reading on your iPad and then pulling out your MacBook to update a spreadsheet? Yup, that’s me. And now we’ll have the Apple Watch on our arms to remind us that we’ve only done 8,000 steps today (a fact that can also just as easily be ascertained through a hundred apps on my iPhone). So now we’ve just got another blinking device to make our lives more complex. Another device to constantly keep charged and worry that it will run out of power in a day. Another device to constantly keep updated, synched and replaced every year when the next fantastic version comes out because you know that Apple’s crack marketing team will make us feel like complete, out-of-touch losers unless we get the latest and greatest Apple Watch.
It’s more money that we’ll be spending on hardware and apps. It’s something else that I’m going to forget in a hotel room or lose in transit somewhere. It’s just another headache in my life, and I’ve already got three kids and two pets.
3. The Apple Watch won’t make me more productive. Smartphones and tablets existed before the iPhone and iPad, but those devices and the App Store literally changed millions of lives. They introduced a generation of productivity applications that have enabled us to communicate with others, find things, go places, buy stuff, and give and get information faster than ever before — and “fast” means productivity. The Apple Watch, at least for now, does very little of this — or at least nothing different than my iPhone or iPad except being smaller and harder to read.
In the end, it’s just telling us the time, with a lot of promises about “the future” of wearables, which is a future that I’m not dismissing, or even doubting — just still waiting for.
4. The Apple Watch won’t make me healthier. Can we all admit that today’s fitness gadgets, from the FitBit to the FuelBand, have really cool brands but are nothing more than goofy fads like the Pet Rock and Rubik’s Cube? I do not know a single person who has given me a rational reason why I should purchase these things. Just because there are fitness apps for the Apple Watch doesn’t mean I’ll suddenly be living longer and healthier. So what if you know your sleep patterns from the night before? Like you can change that? And what exactly are you doing with your hourly heartbeat or daily calorie intake data? Are you running faster or eating differently? You need an app to tell you this? You need an app to vibrate if you’ve been sitting too long? Really? Maybe someday the data will be more relevant and our doctors (if there are any doctors remaining) will have 24/7 access to all of our bodily functions, but let’s be honest now — it’s fun and cool, but are these devices really impacting your life today? You really needed to spend $150 on a glorified wrist band, or even more on an Apple Watch, to tell you all of this?
The people who bought the Apple Watch when it was released last month did so because they’re bored, they want to be cool, and they’ve got $350 lying around and would rather give it to Apple than, say, a charity or — God forbid — their savings account. And that’s fine. I don’t begrudge what people spend their money on. But Version 1.0 of the Apple Watch is a waste of money. That doesn’t mean that someday it won’t trigger a whole new generation of similar products that actually will make people’s lives less complex, more productive and healthier. And I hope it does. And when it does, that’s when I’ll buy it.
Besides Accounting Today, Gene Marks writes for The New York Times, Forbes and Inc.com. A version of this column previously appeared on Forbes.com.
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